Creating a Normal Star in Adobe Illustrator, American Flag Style


12/2/2012 Update: The normal star effect can be achieved by holding down the alt/option key when creating the star via click-and-drag.

With the Star Tool in Adobe Illustrator, the shape of a star can be modified by specifying the number of star points, an outer radius, and an inner radius. Illustrator’s default 5-point star is pudgy; to make a normal star like the one on the American flag, Radius 1 and Radius 2 must be in such a proportion that the edges of each point are visually in line with the edges of the points across the star.

Formula for Calculating Radius

inner_radius = outer_radius * .382

For a star with an outer radius of 100, the inner radius would be 38.2. The dialog to specify these values appears when you select the Star Tool and click (not click-and-drag).


To calculate the proportion of Radius 2 to Radius 1, I sought to determine the 3 angles of the gray triangle below so I could then determine the proportion of the sides: